By Gary Stocks
EVERY team, every player, every coach who has ever been involved in sports has a bad day. The O’Rourke Realty North Beach A-Grade team certainly had one of them last Saturday.
The measure of those teams and individuals who endure a tough day on the field is how they respond. And the North Beach faithful will be looking for that on Saturday when the team returns to Charles Riley Reserve.
The defeat by West Coast at City Beach last week was lamentable. After quarter-time, the lack of effort, the transformation into self preservation and the absence of fight was gut wrenching.
In a game where commitment, mateship, unity and trust are the core of teamwork, there was none.
The absence of team virtues, of putting everything on the line for the bloke alongside was rare. Not one individual sacrificed anything for a mate. There were no blocks, no sacrificial runs to create space, no desire to leave an opponent to give a teammate a chop out.
After leading by a goal at quarter time the Beach faded and lost by 11 goals. It was tough to endure. Especially difficult because the very essence of the North Beach culture had been so horribly disrespected.
That was last week. Now it is a matter of how this team reacts. Did it hurt the players as much as it did the North Beach stalwarts camped on fold-out chairs on the banks of West Coast’s home ground? Do they have the resolve to fightback. To fight for victory? How much does it really mean?
The good thing for this group, that is infinitely more talented than they displayed last week, is that football provides an opportunity to rebound. It gives these men the chance to claw their way out of the hole they sunk into last week and rise back to glory.
Again it will be challenging, against a Fremantle CBC team that itself was humiliated by Trinity Aquinas last week. Just as North Beach will be seeking to rebound so, too, will CBC.
There will be casualties as a result of the poor performance against West Coast, but the responsibility for flying the North Beach flag will rest with 22 capable young men. Last week it was a white one that was hoisted, on Saturday it needs to be the traditional North Beach colours.
While the club must live in the now, it is difficult to ignore the past and how those men who helped carve out the culture of the club would have felt about last week.
When the club won seven premierships in succession, the last of them in 2010, they were an intimidating force. They rolled their collective sleeves up when it got tough and made a statement. It is time for this group to stand up and do likewise.
While the A-Grade team disappointed, each of the other seven teams – five seniors and two colts – scored impressive victories.
Aside from the A-Grade action at Charles Riley Reserve, the fifth and sixth grade seniors will play on the adjacent #2 Oval, while three matches will be contested against North Fremantle at Gil Fraser Reserve.
Fixtures, Round 3
O’Rourke Realty A-Grade
North Beach v Fremantle CBC, Charles Riley Reserve, 2.30pm
North Beach v Fremantle CBC, Charles Riley Reserve, 12.35pm
Plasterwise Phil Scott Colts
North Beach v Fremantle CBC, Charles Riley Reserve, 10.40am
Hybrid Linings D1-Grade
North Fremantle v North Beach, Gil Fraser Reserve, 2.30pm
Coast to Coast Imports D1-Reserves
North Fremantle v North Beach, Gil Fraser Reserve, 12.35pm
Red Hill Brett Jones Colts
North Fremantle v North Beach Gil Fraser Reserve, 10.40am
Express Bins D2-Grade
North Beach v Whitford, Charles Riley Reserve, 2.30pm
North Beach v Whitford, Charles Riley Reserve, 12.35pm